Cornet Captures Strasbourg Crown
Published May 25, 2013 12:00
STRASBOURG, France - Home turf, same turf - could there any better preparation? Alizé Cornet gave herself a huge boost on the eve of her home Grand Slam, toughing out a tight first set then rolling to victory in the second set against Lucie Hradecka in the final of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
The first set was a 64-minute grinder, with the two holding serve through 5-all before Hradecka got the first break and served for it at 6-5, even holding a 30-0 lead in that game. But the No.3-seeded Cornet squeaked the set out and blew through the second set in just 25 minutes to finish it, 76(4) 60.
"It was a very tight first set - we were both serving very well and we didn't break each other much," Cornet said. "In the tie-break it came down to just one or two points, and then in the second set it went way faster because everything she had been putting on the lines in the beginning started to go out. And I'm happy I was able to win the second set 6-0, because I was starting to get very nervous!
"I feel great right now, winning this title at home. It's the accomplishment of a lot of work."
Hradecka pointed to her double fault serving at 4-5 in the tie-break as a turning point. "Everything just turned around from there," she said. "In the first set she wasn't making any mistakes and I came so close, but from there she started playing even better. And it was already tough in the first set.
"I wasn't thinking about any of my other finals - I was really trying my best out there. But she's a very, very good player, and I'm still happy I got five matches this week going into Roland Garros."
Cornet now has three WTA titles to her name, her first two also coming at International-level clay court events at Budapest in 2008 and Bad Gastein in 2012. The Frenchwoman is now 3-3 in WTA finals.
Hradecka fell to 0-6 in WTA finals, having previously finished runner-up at Bad Gastein in 2008 (to Pauline Parmentier), Strasbourg and Istanbul in 2009 (to Aravane Rezai and Vera Dushevina), Barcelona in 2011 (to Roberta Vinci) and most recently Québec City last year (to Kirsten Flipkens).
The doubles final went down to the wire, with No.4 seeds Kimiko Date-Krumm and Chanelle Scheepers fighting off two match points in the match tie-break to take down No.3 seeds Cara Black and Marina Erakovic, 64 36 1412. It was Date-Krumm and Scheepers' first WTA doubles title together - Date-Krumm now has six WTA doubles titles to her name, while Scheepers won her first WTA doubles title.
"It was my first time playing with Chanelle and we had a lot of fun - doubles is always more fun, because you have a partner out there with you," Date-Krumm said. "The final was so tough today, very close - but we just tried to fight until the end and I think we were also a little bit lucky out there!"
"I was very excited to play with Kimiko this week," Scheepers said. "The final was very exciting - I'm happy we were able to luck through in the end and win the title. I wanted to get a lot of matches this week, whether it was singles or doubles, so I feel really prepared for the French Open now."
Black overcame some tough early moments in the match - a tennis ball to the face and subsequently a nosebleed. "These things happen," she said. "I'm much more disappointed about the result than that. We had a couple of match points there and didn't take our chances unfortunately, but it was great to be in another final with Marina. I'm really enjoying my partnership with her. She's such a great girl, on and off the court. We go out there and just give it our best, and have fun - that's the main thing."
"It hurts - we had a lot of chances today," Erakovic said. "But Cara and I are playing solid. We just made two finals out of two tournaments, so there's a lot to be positive about and to be proud of.
"We'll give it another go at the French."